A comparison of students’ written explanations and CLASS responses

Gabriel Rowe, Anna McLean Phillips

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther


We examined students’ responses on the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) and their homework within a freshman physics course. The homeworks were designed to elicit detailed responses and sense-making. Students completed the CLASS prior to the start of the course. Student responses on the first two homeworks of the semester were coded for instances of evidence of sense-making, such as checking if an answer is reasonable and providing multiple explanations. We had matched CLASS responses and homeworks for 26 students. Our results show that evidence of sense-making on the homework assignments may be uncorrelated with percent favorable response on the CLASS and weakly correlated with percent unfavorable response. These results suggest that students’ formal beliefs about physics, as measured by the CLASS, may be only weakly related to how students engage in solving physics problems. Given the small sample size of our work, further study is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Physics Education Research Conference 2016, Sacramento, CA
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePER Conference series
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers

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